Vikings : War of Clans is the latest offer from Plarium games, known for interesting games with a definite focus on grabbing cash from their whales.    This one is no different.

Oh look.  It's a sale.   Just like every single day.

Oh look. It’s a sale. Just like every single day.

The game will be familiar to any player of web-based “Build up your town” game players.    Food, Wood, Stone, Iron.    Plus silver for in-game currency.    Make your little town great by levelling it up – and they do a nice job with the graphics.   Each of my buildings changes every time I move it up in level.

A piece of my town, you have to scroll to see the whole thing.

A piece of my town, you have to scroll to see the whole thing.

Where it starts to get stupid is in the expected gameplay, versus the reality.

Plopped into a semi-random spot.   Right ?

Plopped into a semi-random spot. Right ?

A fairly empty map with a fair amount of travel time from one town to the next.   Send your troops off to march and destroy another player’s town, and they’ll take a certain amount of time to get there.   (For extra fun, there are resource nodes and mobs that you can also hit).    So that should be a fairly fun and even game, for a casual phone game, right ?   You can defend yourself against attacks as long as you log in occasionally.

The Hive !

The Hive !

Instead, this is the reality.   Each clan buys items called relocators.   You can buy a random one, or one that lets you choose where to go.    So the first thing that happens is every clan bands together.

If someone from the outside tries to attack, your clanmates have plenty of time to react and reinforce you.   Their travel time is in seconds or one minute.   So clans are almost impossible to attack.   Sounds like a defensive stalemate, right ?

Wrong.    The relocators are apparently too cheap – I own 3 and have purchased 4 already.   War is waged by teleporting your town over to an enemy “hive”, or group of towns in a clan.    Then you smash the hell out of an enemy that can’t react, and add a peace treaty (no attacks shield) immediately afterwards – or you teleport away immediately again.    My clan is getting smashed by another clan at maximum level with these tactics.

It’s not all bad when you get attacked.    A bunch of your resources are shielded in your vault, so you can keep construction going.   Attacks don’t disrupt construction, just kill your troops.   This would make sense, again, in the intended gameplay.

Now, for even more stupidity.   When my troops die defending the town, I can “heal” them – bring them back just by playing the game, using food and other resources and time.    If they die on the attack, you have to use premium currency (gold), or just make new ones.    Training new troops takes a fair amount of time.

Now, combine these mechanics and you find yourself doing this.   I could care less if my town gets attacked – because my upgrades continue.    And I can simply start a new one even if my town gets sacked.    My troops are hiding (reinforcing) another clanmate with a peace shield up so they don’t get killed, and I transport all my resources above the vault limit to other clanmates, at a 40% loss for each move.

The only thing to do in the game is 1) Attack other players 2)Attack “Barbarians”, or 3) Hoard resources by claiming the nodes.   If you claim a resource node, another player can attack you.   Guess what happens to your troops ?   Yup, they’re dead unless you spend gold to revive them.

So all I’m doing is watching timers tick.   Fun.

The updates are showing the team working on the barbarians/invaders/NPCS you can attack for giggles, so hopefully they find better ways for us to play.   Right now, all the NPC’s are level 4 or 5.   I have to research to unlock the ability to attack them, and I’ve only unlocked level 2.    You guys screwed up.    This is something they can fix.   I highly doubt they’ll fix the town relocation, that’s the kind of thing that usually stays around forever.

The other interesting mechanic is the gold offers.    They clearly tailor them carefully to each individual player.   How much does gold cost ?   It all depends on what pops up as an ad for you, each package is different and hard to price.   Come on, give in to the IMPULSE BUY !

I went for it.   For $2 I’m going to complain ?    I got to speed up a bunch of my buildings and I’m a much more formidable player.    Suddenly, I’ve never again seen another $2 bundle.    Now the lowest they get is $5.    Armed with a $25 Google Play card I got for free, I went ahead and spent $10.    I now find the packages are $20 all the way up to $100.   I can see where this is going.   I’m not spending my relatively-useless Google Play credits that badly, I’ll wait until (If !) another $2 pops up before giving them another dime.

Then again, they got $12.   They’re happy.   I spent $2 in reality money so I’m not salty.  If you have nothing you want to buy with Play credits for six months, at some point you just go for it.   I’m glad I did, I learned something.

The only real question is how long until I get bored.    I’m filling up my town with Level 12 buildings and will go after 13 once I”m pretty much there.   The maximum is 21, but each level takes longer and longer to unlock.   The level 3 troops take a week to research, so lord knows how many days to get from 20 to 21.